This is the Genus of most of the sturgeon species. eg Acipenser
baerii There are two other sturgeon genus- Huso and
Name for the largest of the Sturgeon fishes. Latin name Huso
huso. Native of the Caspian and Black Sea water sheds, it
is also still native to the Adriatic, but very rare. Beluga caviar
has the largest egg size of any caviar, one of the reasons for
its top prize. It also has a unique colour grading system- 000
guarantees a light grey colour, which is the most expensive. 00
- codes for "medium grey"
This is term full of potential to confuse. It can mean any of
the native American sturgeon species, such as the transmontanus
species now being farmed in California. Other caviar retailers
use the term when they mean the caviar of the non-sturgeon paddlefish
or spoonbill which produces similarly large and grey eggs. Alternative
caviars such as Whitefish from the US great lakes can be sold
as American caviar. It is therefore more a geographic tag than
reference to any species in particular.
This is the species name for the Siberian Sturgeon which lives
naive in places such as Russia's Lake Baikal. It is a relatively
small and fast maturing sturgeon which is part of the reason that
it has become a popular choice for farming. All of the new French
farms are producing Baerii caviar.
This is the name given to the hybrid sturgeon created by crossing
the large beluga sturgeon (Huso huso) with the small sweet
fleshed Sterlet sturgeon (Acipenser ruthenus). This has
produced a fish with admirable qualities, but could cause a problem
if released into the wild.
Borax is a preservative used to preserve and flavour caviar. The
full name is Sodium tetra borate, often referred to by its E number
- E285. It is an illegal food additive in the US, meaning that
all caviar sold in the US tends to rely on higher salt levels
to ensure effective preservation.
There is a continuing tradition, to visually separate the three
main type of sturgeon caviar by packing them in different coloured
containers. Beluga tends to be packaged in blue, sevruga in red
leaving the osetra liveried in yellow. Although this is not kept
to by all, most tins and jar tops sold today still adhere to this
This is one of the three sturgeon genus. eg Huso dauricus.
There are two other sturgeon genus- Acipenser and Scaphirhynchus
The name of the large sturgeon found in the Amur river, shared
between China and Russia. It grows very large and produces caviar
very similar to the other large sturgeon species the Beluga. Its
Latin name is Huso dauricus. Sometimes this is marketed
as Chinese Caviar.
Widely used Russian term meaning lightly salted. It is sometimes
seen written as Malo's sol. In practice this means in the region
of 3-5% salt. It is a term that is not indicative of quality,
merely describing the process. If the salt content exceeds 5%,
it should then be termed salted caviar. The low salt level means
that even if the caviar is kept appropriately cool it has a restricted
shelf life of only 2-3 months.
This is a term that is more a description of a type of caviar
rather than being limited to the caviar of one single species.
Although more often than not it tends to mean the caviar of the
Russian Sturgeon (Acipenser gueldenstaedtii), several other sturgeon
produce similar small grained nutty flavoured eggs which are also
categorised and sold as osetra caviar. This is the reason why
osetra caviar has a reputation for being somewhat variable in
colour, flavour and size. There are a range of alternative spellings
still in use such as oscietre and osscietre.
This is an ancient traditional technique for preserving fish eggs.
The famous bottarga fish roes of the Mediterranean region being
the best known. This caviar tends to be made from the roes which
have been damaged during the extraction process. Due to the difficult
task of separating the individual eggs from their egg sac and
other tissues, this is normal practise. Unlike the mullet roe
of the bottarga, sturgeon roe is extracted from the egg sac membrane,
it is therefore put in a man-made muslin sac before pressed under
weight. This process produces a very rich concentrated flavour
as there tends to be 3-4 times more eggs per ounce in pressed
caviar. It used to be dried and pressed more in the past leading
to a consistency which could be sliced like cheese. Nowadays the
custom appears to be a softer consistency, more resembling that
of jam, which can be spread. The Russian term for pressed caviar
This process in which the caviar is heat treated by steeping
tins or jars of caviar in water of 60-70 degrees Centigrade.
This process whilst lengthening shelf life to a year or more,
does affect the quality and flavour of the caviar. It is worth
being wary of pasteurised caviar that is really fresh malossol
caviar that has been pasteurised just before its sell by date,
in order to save it and sell later on in its new form. Obviously
fresh caviar which has been pasteurised within hours of being
processed is going to be superior to that which has already spent
3 months in a tin being flown around the world.
This is caviar that has more than 5% and therefore outside the
limits of the Malossol method. This higher ratio of salt preservation
is often found in caviars sold in the US. Seldom does it exceed
10%. The trade off for the increased shelf life is to somewhat
alter the flavour of the caviar.
One of only three sturgeon genus, it has just one extant species
the Shovelnose Sturgeon (Scaphirhynchus platorynchus),
which is native to the waters of the Mississippi River system.
This particular sturgeon produces the caviar often sold under
the name Hackleback. The other two sturgeon genus are Acipenser
This is the name reserved for the caviar produced by the sturgeon
species, Acipenser stellatus. The English name for this
species is the Starry Sturgeon. It is native to the river networks
leading into the Caspian and Black Seas.
The species name for the Sevruga or Starry Sturgeon (Acipenser
This is the species name for the American White Sturgeon (Acipenser
transmontanus) which is native to the West coast of the US
from California, north as far as Alaska. The river most famous
for this fish, and where it is still caught, is the Columbia River.
The huge Bonnerville Dam has constrained the migration of these
huge fish, but luckily there are some natural breeding habitats
just below the dam. This species is being farmed in its native
states such as California, and also in European countries such